Varroa mites are one of the most significant threats to honey bee health today. Mites multiply quickly and spread bee viruses from bee to bee. The only way to control the deadly effects of viruses is to control the mites. Without proper management, mite-infested colonies have a very high probability of dying. Mites can also spread from colony to colony, on the backs of robbing and drifting bees, within a one-mile radius. That means that if you don't monitor and manage for mites, you may be putting your neighbors' bees at risk. In urban areas, horizontal transmission of mites (spreading mites) is an especially big problem.
The Bee Squad is encouraging all beekeepers to monitor their bees for mites. We are marketing a mite testing kit based on the University of Nebraska's non-destructive testing method called the “powdered sugar roll.” The kit is reusable, and comes with detailed user instructions. The Bee Squad supports regular mite monitoring of your bees throughout the beekeeping season, and managing colonies according to your mite levels.
MiteCheck Kits can be purchased from the University of Minnesota Bookstores. For bulk orders of at least 20 MiteCheck Kits, please email [email protected].
Beekeepers can report mite levels to MiteCheck. A collaboration with the Michigan State University, University of Maryland, College Park and the Bee Informed Partnership, MiteCheck is a national beekeeper citizen science effort to fight Varroa destructor mites.